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You'll get an extra Taste of Findlay Market at this year's Taste of Cincinnati

21 new vendors with tasty samples for $3 or less
Posted at 7:00 AM, May 24, 2017

CINCINNATI -- A fresh market breeze will sweep into the Taste of Cincinnati this year, bringing with it a new crop of vendors and foods. For the first time, Findlay Market will join the nation's longest-running culinary arts festival, scheduled May 27-29 along Downtown's Fifth Street.

The Taste of Findlay Market will showcase 21 vendors, including merchants from Findlay Market, Dirt retail store and even fledgling food entrepreneurs from Findlay Kitchen.

Findlay Market's "home away from home" will be located on the Fifth Street ramp to I-71.

"We'll have 15 total Findlay booths and two beer booths," said Cynthia Oxley, the director of sponsorship and community events at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, who also serves as Taste of Cincinnati's director.

The vendors will serve small bites for $3 or less. Oxley said the new area will include an entertainment stage along with some seating, as well as high-top tables on the sidewalks.

The vendor lineup will rotate each day because not all vendors will participate for all three days. However, some will, including: The Arepa Place Latin Grill, Grind on the Rhine, Kuya Ed's Lechon Aptba, Banasun Fruit Bar, Saigon Market, Tweedles Mini Donuts and Schell's Bistro.

Findlay Market is known as a bustling intersection of farm-fresh ingredients, artisanal and specialty foods, and grass-roots businesses. With the addition of Findlay Kitchen -- a food business incubator -- the market is now home to a new class of fresh, aspiring food entrepreneurs.

"The Chamber has been fantastic to work with in making this very unique section (possible)," said Marianne Hamilton, the director of food innovation for Findlay Market.

The Chamber considered the challenges of business startups -- like staffing and funding -- and lowered some barriers to enable the vendors' participation, Hamilton said. The Chamber lowered the participation fee, rolled back the daily operating requirement to eight hours and allowed participation on a day-to-day basis. Vendors are normally expected to commit to all three days of the festival and keep their booths open for 12 hours.

"This adds something really spectacular to Taste of Cincinnati," Oxley said. "We want to do everything we can to make sure this area is successful and the small businesses have a chance to participate."

Vendors are also getting logistical support.

"Findlay Market owns a 17-foot refrigerated truck that we're providing to them at no cost so they can restock throughout the day," Hamilton said. "We are also coordinating equipment rental and temporary licensing they're going to need from the Health Department."

The vendor lineup reflects the emphasis that Findlay Kitchen and, on a larger scale, Findlay Market, places on cultivating women-, immigrant- and minority-owned businesses. Hamilton noted that 62 percent of the participating businesses are women-owned, 43 percent minority-owned and 14 percent immigrant-owned.

Marschell Davis of Schell's Bistro and her red velvet cupcakes.

Marschell Davis, who owns and operates Schell's Bistro, is one of the participating vendors. Davis, who is currently growing her business out of Findlay Kitchen, makes an assortment of foods ranging from gourmet jumbo stuffed cupcakes to barbecue ribs and mac and cheese. She's hoping the exposure will help move her business along.

"Our goal is a food truck," she said. "Eventually, long term, I'd like to be packaging distribution in big-box food stores."

Both Oxley and Hamilton also hope the vendors will benefit from the exposure at Taste of Cincinnati; the festival saw a record-tying crowd of more than 550,000 in 2016.

"The food entrepreneurs are a really important part of Cincinnati," Oxley said. "We want to be able to showcase it."

Since 2013, the Chamber has donated $65,000 to support regional culinary and entrepreneurial growth. The Chamber will continue its support of local culinary entrepreneurs with a 2017 donation to the Findlay Market Foodpreneur Fund.

Hamilton is glad they are able to provide this opportunity to the "foodpreneurs." 

"We're so happy the Chamber is able to include us," she said. "(The startups) just would not otherwise be able to do this."

Schell's Bistro's red velvet cupcakes hot out of the oven -- awaiting cream-cheese filling and frosting.

Taste of Findlay Market (at Taste of Cincinnati)

When: Noon to 8 p.m. May 27-29

Where: Fifth Street, between Main Street and just east of Sentinel Street in downtown Cincinnati. Taste of Findlay Market is on the Fifth Street ramp to I-71.

Cost: $3 or less (Taste of Findlay Market only)

Website: tasteofcincinnati.com

Taste of Findlay Market vendors:

The Arepa Place

Babushka Pierogies

Bailey Family Catering

Banasun Fruit Bar

Bouchard's

The Bru Brothers

Davis Cookie Collection

Dean's Mediterranean Imports

Fireside Pizza

Flavor Punch Food Truck

Gramma Debbie's Kitchen

Grind on the Rhine

Injoy Indian Street Food

Kuya Ed's Lechon Aptba

Mae

Maverick Chocolate Company

OCD Cakes

Queen City Hemp

Saigon Market

Schell's Bistro

Tweedles Mini Donuts

Daily lineup at Taste of Findlay Market:

Saturday:

The Arepa Place

Saigon Market

Grind on the Rhine

Mediterranean Imports

Mae

Queen City Hemp

Babushka Pierogies

Schell's Bistro

Injoy

Tweedles Mini Donuts

The Bru Brothers

Bouchard's

Davis Cookie Collection

BanaSun Fruit Bar

Kuya Ed's Lechon Atpba

Sunday:

The Arepa Place

Saigon Market

Grind on the Rhine

Bailey's Family Catering

Mae

Queen City Hemp

Babushka Pierogies

Schell's Bistro

Fireside Pizza

Tweedles Mini Donuts

The Bru Brothers

Bouchard's

OCD Cakes

BanaSun Fruit Bar

Kuya Ed's Lechon Atpba

Monday:

The Arepa Place

Saigon Market

Grind on the Rhine

513 Bagel Co.

Queen City Hemp

Flavor Punch Food Truck

Schell's Bistro

Fireside Pizza

Tweedles Mini Donuts

The Brü Brothers

Gramma Debbie's Kitchen

Maverick Chocolate Co.

BanaSun Fruit Bar

Kuya Ed's Lechon Atpba

Grace Yek writes about food for WCPO Digital. She is a certified chef-de-cuisine with the American Culinary Federation, and a former chemical engineer. Questions or comments? Connect with her on Twitter: @Grace_Yek.